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From quilting to basket making

Laura Power
Northern News Services
Published Monday, August 13, 2007

INUVIK - It didn't take long after moving to Inuvik for Shona Barbour to make a difference in her new home's art community. Along with Carolyn Hunter and Beth Pechter, she co-founded the Inuvik Quilting Guild last July.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Shona Barbour is the chair of the Inuvik Quilting Guild. The group is holding a show at Inuvik's greenhouse until September. - Laura Power/NNSL photo

Barbour, 28, first began working with textiles in university, when she began making quilts. She has since come across the idea of making baskets and said she has been experimenting with that. Since she moved to Inuvik, she mainly sells her work at the town's Christmas craft fair.

"I like art as everyday objects," she said, adding that she hopes people who buy her work - whether it be a quilt or a basket - actually use it. Either way, she said there is a big consumer interest in the art form these days.

"I think people like it because it's a little bit different," she said.

After a year of working at the guild, Barbour (chair) is happy with the response the guild has had from the community.

"Whether it's quilting or felting, people seem to have an interest or curiosity in textile work," she said. "Everything we do there seems to be good participation."

When the guild held its first course last fall, 33 people enrolled. The courses offered are attended by adults only, though kids seem to really like working with textiles, too. People at different levels take part.

"Those of us who are more experienced can help out the beginners but we can still experiment on our own stuff," she said.

More recently, eight members of the guild - including herself - put their work on display in Inuvik's first quilting show at the greenhouse.

"When we opened... I think we had about 75 people through," she said, adding that is a good turnout for Inuvik.

The guild is planning to host a workshop this October, for which they will be bringing up a Southern artist. Another future project Barbour is talking about is partnering up to start making textile-based greeting cards.

In the meantime, the quilting exhibit at the greenhouse will remain there until after the September long weekend.